At his death in 1878 William Cullen Bryant had been, for fifty-one years, the chief editor and a principal owner of the New York Evening Post. The paper had been started in 1801 by lawyer William Coleman in association with the Federalist politician Alexander Hamilton. In 1826, Coleman hiredBryant as a reporter. Although Coleman may have engaged his services because of his growing distinction as a poet, Bryant was also by then an experienced writer of prose, having published more than fifty critical and familiar essays. He had been both editor of and most frequent writer for themonthly New York Review and the United States Review, and was known widely for his lectures on poetry before the New York Athenacum. By the time he assumed the direction of the Evening Post after Coleman's death in 1829 he had proved himself, in three annual volumes of the holiday gift book TheTalisman, to be proficient in a wit and irony soon reflected in his editorials.
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